Titles and Tiaras

At CTD and Lewisville, two winning comedies reveal the ugly side of beauty pageants.

Pageant Play gets down and dirty fairly quickly. Pinky swears like a drunken stevedore. When her Chevy comes in second to Puddles yet again, she complains the contest was rigged. "Fair and square, my pussy!" she screams, stomping a sparkly pink shoe.

If that makes you worry about how that goes over in the presence of little Chevy and Puddles, don't fret. The toddlers are played by ruffled dresses on hangers, the most original idea of all in this extended comedy sketch.

The only quibble about the authenticity of stereotypes sent up in Pageant Play might be in the casting of Allen and Ingram as the moms. These are two slim, attractive actresses, nothing at all like the morbidly obese terrors who play to the cameras on Toddlers & Tiaras.


Desperate housewives: Sherry Hopkins and Morgan McClure play 1950s hausfraus trying to win a homemaking pageant in the comedy Mrs. California at Contemporary Theatre.
George Wada
Desperate housewives: Sherry Hopkins and Morgan McClure play 1950s hausfraus trying to win a homemaking pageant in the comedy Mrs. California at Contemporary Theatre.

Details

Mrs. California

continues through October 7 at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. Call 214-828-0094.

Pageant Play

continues through Sunday at Lewisville Grand Theater, Lewisville. Call 972-724-2147.

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Real children with real talent just performed in an all-youth Man of La Mancha at Plano's Fun House Theatre. This is director/writer Jeff Swearingen's company, which continues to do impressive work on shoestring budgets, this show included. It's not an easy musical for grown-ups and this bunch, with no one older than 16 in the cast, did just fine with it.

Victoria Ecker was a standout as Aldonza/Dulcinea. It's a little odd watching a pretty teenager play a prostitute, but her singing was sublime and her acting focused and sincere.

In the lead as Cervantes/Alonso, Doak Rapp has yet to learn that acting starts in the eyes, but he'll get there. Andy Stratton was a lively Sancho Panza. Brad Weatherford sang well and ad libbed when needed as the Padre.

There were only three performances, so watch for this troupe's next one. Dracula: A Haunted Tale of Dating, a new comedy by Swearingen, plays October 18-21 in the black box space next to Plano Children's Theatre.

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